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Stable at High Trees Farm

A Grade II Listed Building in Polstead, Suffolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.0202 / 52°1'12"N

Longitude: 0.8915 / 0°53'29"E

OS Eastings: 598498

OS Northings: 239695

OS Grid: TL984396

Mapcode National: GBR SLL.B77

Mapcode Global: VHKFD.DHP6

Entry Name: Stable at High Trees Farm

Listing Date: 7 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1446966

Location: Polstead, Babergh, Suffolk, CO6

County: Suffolk

District: Babergh

Civil Parish: Polstead

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Summary

Stable built in the mid-C19.

Description

Stable built in the mid-C19.

MATERIALS: the stable has a timber frame clad in weatherboarding on a brick plinth with a corrugated-iron roof covering. The adjoining tack room is constructed of red brick laid in Flemish bond, and the chaff house of flint rubble and red brick laid in stretcher bond with weatherboarding along the top. Both have a corrugated iron roof covering.

PLAN: the stable is located at the north-west of the farmstead. It has a rectangular plan, aligned north-east/south-west, with an adjoining tack room and chaff house on the north-east corner. This is attached to the threshing barn which is separately listed at Grade II.

EXTERIOR: the single-storey, two-bay stable has a steeply-pitched roof. It has door openings in the centre of the principal south-east elevation and on the south-west gable end, above which is a loft hatch with a plank and batten door with strap hinges. A weather vane surmounts the roof at the south-western end. The small tack room projects on the right side of the central door opening, just under the eaves. It has a shallow lean-to roof and a small window in a wooden frame, right of centre. Adjoining this on the north-east gable end is a three-bay, single-storey structure with a lean-to roof angled the opposite way to that of the tack room. The small brick and flint chaff house occupying the first bay has a square louvred opening. The brickwork shows signs of repair. The second and third bays are open-sided with two timber posts supporting the roof.

INTERIOR: the floor is laid in yellow brick. Wooden hayracks and mangers survive along the long north-west wall, as does a wooden stall division at the north-east end. The collar-truss roof has clasped purlins and tie beams strengthened by strap hinges, and the closely spaced studs at the gable ends have primary down bracing. The tack room retains a plank and batten door with strap hinges and latch, and two long wooden pegs on a batten mounted on the wall. Adjoining the tack room on the south-west side is a small square room with a sunken floor, possibly created for storage.
An internal plank and batten door on the north-east gable end leads into the chaff house which has a partition of timber studs and weatherboarding separating it from the two open-sided bays. These have a high brick plinth with timber studs above, clad in weatherboarding.

History

Analysis of existing listed farm buildings of all types indicates that the period between 1500 and 1700 was significant for the numbers of farmsteads developed within the county, particularly in central and north-east Suffolk. A small number of pre-1500 survivals are thinly scattered throughout the county, whilst post-1700 buildings are more evenly distributed from the west to the coastal areas, with the exception of the southern part of Suffolk Coastal District. The varied patterns of land tenure, from the post-Dissolution distribution of monastic lands to the carefully-planned C19 estate developments in the east of the county resulted in different phases of investment and development at different times.

Different soil conditions meant that certain areas were better suited to cereal production, whilst others, notably in the eastern coastal districts where lighter soils predominate, favoured livestock grazing, with a much smaller proportion of the land ploughed to produce feed crops. These different regimes required different types of buildings: in east Suffolk, an area where dairy farming produced great wealth, large-scale storage facilities for arable crops was far less likely to be needed than it was in the west of the county where grain production predominated, and where large barns were needed.

The size and relative wealth of the farm holding, whether owned or tenanted, also influenced the level of investment in farm buildings. The late enclosure of land in the east of the county led to the development of new planned farmsteads by large estates. Most other areas of Suffolk were farmed by yeoman farmers who were more likely to extend and adapt existing buildings rather than engage in wholesale redevelopment. In many parts of the county, therefore, there is a significantly high rate of survival of pre-C18 farm buildings and farm houses.

The period between 1770 and 1870 was the most significant phase of farm building development throughout England. Rising grain prices from the 1760s into the early C19, and the impact of agricultural improvement brought about a significant change in the extent of arable production in Suffolk, accompanied by further investment in farm buildings of all types – not only barns, but also stables, granaries and buildings and enclosures for livestock.

The farmhouse and granary at High Trees Farm date to the C16 or C17 and are the oldest buildings on the farmstead. In the will of the wool merchant Thomas Spring of Newstead Manor, dated 1523, the property was left to John Spring of Hitcham. It passed to Richard Bran of Boxford and then to his son John who died in 1610. After this the farmstead belonged to Thomas Fones and his son Samuel who left it to his granddaughter Alice Haw in 1703. By the early C19 the farmstead had been acquired by the Strutt family. The stable was built after 1840 as it is not shown on the Tithe map of that date. The first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1886 depicts the stable with an adjoining building on the north-east end. This is the tack room and chaff house which was probably used for storing feed.

Reasons for Listing

The stable at High Trees Farm, built in the mid-C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is constructed in the local vernacular tradition and retains a substantially complete timber frame with collar-truss roof;

* it retains a good proportion of its original fittings, including the brick floor, hayracks, mangers and stall division, in addition to the tack room and adjoining chaff house, which illustrate the building’s original configuration and function.

Historic interest:

* it was built during a period in which English agriculture was the most advanced in the world. Many farmhouses and agricultural buildings were built or rebuilt as a result of increased agricultural prosperity, and the stable is a good example of this process.

Group value:

* it has strong group value with the farmhouse, granary and threshing barn, all listed at Grade II, which form a significant group representative of traditional forms of construction and farming practice.

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